Stop the denials

Published 9:52 am Thursday, February 4, 2021

Only in America is the reality of climate change denied. Seriously, only in America.

No other nation, no other political party, no other radical group other than our Republican friends deny the truth of climate change and the threat it poses to humans. A survey by The Guardian found, “Republicans are the only climate-denying conservative party in the world.”

And here is what Republicans say when denying climate change:

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• Rep. Mo Brooks, (2018) on the topic of rising sea levels: “Every time you have that soil or rock, whatever it is, that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise because now you’ve got less space in those oceans because the bottom is moving up.”

• Rep. Andy Biggs (2016): “I do not believe climate change is occurring,” Biggs responded to a 2016 candidate survey from the Arizona Republic. “I do not think that humans have a significant impact on climate. The federal government should stop regulating and stomping on our economy and freedoms in the name of a discredited theory.”

• Rep. Paul Gosar (2019): “As the son of a geologist, our climate has always changed, and if you don’t doubt me, dig up some fossils.”

• Rep. Debbie Lasko (2018): I think it just goes through cycles and it has to do a lot with the sun. So no, I’m not a global warming proponent.”

• Sen. John Boozman (2014): Boozman pushed back on scientific consensus in 2014, saying “no one has a monopoly on the facts.”

Actually, there is something of a monopoly on the facts. While Republicans may have their own rather unenlightened ideas on climate change as noted above, climate scientists, the actual experts in this field, have the agreement of 97 percent of their fellows.

But Republican objections are not really about the facts they deny. Their objections are their friends in the fossil fuel industry contribute to their election campaigns enough to cause these honorable officials to risk the planet for the next campaign donation.

Consequently, given their failure to argue the facts, Republicans argue the cost burdens of their corporate sponsors, in much the same way buggy manufacturers would have argued against the horseless carriage. It is dangerous; it is expensive; no one really knows if it will work.

Unfortunately for Republicans, neither Americans nor the rest of the planet are buying their buggy whip argument any longer. A 2019 Pew Research poll found Americans believe the federal government is doing too little to protect the nation from the effects of climate change. Internationally, a 2021 new survey, the largest ever undertaken on climate change, surveyed 1.2 million people in 50 countries who concluded that climate change is a “global emergency.”

Here are the facts: renewable energy today employs 50 percent more Americans than fossil fuel careers at comparable pay; installer and service jobs in renewable energy will grow at 11 percent to 13 percent faster than general economy jobs in this decade; fossil fuel jobs have been reduced by 80 percent over the last four decades, and continue to shrink.

In parts of the United States, renewable energy is already far cheaper to produce than coal, natural gas or nuclear energy. Iowa currently produces 37 percent of its energy from wind, with electricity rates below the national average.

California now can produce more solar energy in its solar farms and rooftop panels than the state uses during afternoon hours at a lower rate than conventional power plants.

Without human intervention, the changes in climate coming will create food shortages, sea level rises, more extreme weather and more health crisis’ than ever before. It is time to ignore our Republican friends and their life-threatening lies about renewable energy. Time is running out.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State.